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Dolby Labs Intros New Multistream Decoder

Dolby Laboratories has introduced the new Dolby Multistream Decoder, a licensable multiformat audio decoding technology that supports Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Pulse in a single package for HDTVs and set-top boxes.

In Europe, various industry groups such as Digital Video Broadcasting, the European Broadcasting Union and DIGITALEUROPE (formerly known as EICTA) have recommended Dolby Digital Plus and HE AAC as the audio coding systems for next-generation broadcast transmissions. In addition, individual national forums have specified these audio systems for their respective HD formats. Dolby Digital Plus decoding brings premium audio support and full compatibility with existing Dolby Digital broadcasts. Dolby Pulse (Dolby’s implementation of HE AAC) can extend the Dolby experience to an even wider range of bandwidth constrained services and new online opportunities.

The new decoder, also known as the Dolby MS10 Multistream Decoder, decodes both Dolby Digital Plus and HE AAC audio and therefore can assist manufacturers in meeting new MPEG-4 terrestrial receiver specifications in several European countries, including Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway (HE AAC only with transcoder), Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It also enables new audio mixing options to enhance presentation for viewers with vision impairments, as required or recommended in several European countries, including Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Key features include full compatibility with Dolby metadata and consumers’ existing DVD home cinema systems with all Dolby and HE AAC transmission formats, and full multichannel support (transcoder) for Dolby Pulse in addition to Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus decoding and conversion—one Dolby Digital output for all input formats. The decoder also supports audio description services delivered “receiver-mix” style using two simultaneous instances of Dolby Pulse, Dolby Digital, or Dolby Digital Plus decoders, respectively—all for the price of a single decoder instance. It also supports multiprogram Dolby Digital Plus streams (main and associated audio delivered in the same audio stream) and can decode AAC, HE AAC v.1, and HE AAC v.2 bitstreams.